the Insiders


Showing posts by Venessa Lau- Fashion Writer

There's Something About Mitzi

One of the more surprising moments of my telephone interview with Mitzi Gaynor was hearing her say, "I was not, I don't think, a good movie actress." The remark came in response to our conversation about the different chapters in her career and her switch from the silver screen (she only did 18 films) to variety specials. "I loved being a movie star," she said. "But I don't think I was all that good. The camera always got in my way. I don't know. I was never, ever totally comfortable [in film] the way I am onstage or on television."

Making Noise, Part II

Last Thursday, my colleague Kim Friday and I headed up to Northampton, Mass., for a piece on Kim Gordon, who has come out with a number of art publications and, this Friday, will unveil her second exhibit of the spring season. (Read the whole story here.) We couldn't cram everything into the article. For starters, there's Gordon's cozy three-story brick house, which deserves a write-up of its own. It's home to Gordon, husband and fellow Sonic Youth band mate Thurston Moore, their daughter Coco and Moore's niece Louise, who lives in one of the many guest bedrooms on the top floor.

Gordon's house is wonderfully lived-in, with random boxes, artsy-craftsy cushions and tchotchkes everywhere. (The latter, she noted, was a Moore hobby; he has a penchant for picking up tabletop odds and ends from his travels.) Walls come in chartreuse, turquoise and egg yellow. And there are books everywhere, including those arranged in neat little stacks on practically every flat surface -- some random, others curated. "Thurston does that," Gordon explained. "He's a book person." Naturally, the music touches abound, too, as in the tiny Joey Ramone plastic figurine on top of one television or the light-switch covers boasting photos of Gordon and Moore performing in concert.

Bringing in the Noise with Kim Gordon

One of Gordon's works
Kim Gordon is one of the ultimate multihyphenates of our era. She's a rock icon, actress and fashion muse, not to mention fashion designer. And she's also gained some serious cred as an artist, having written for Art Forum in the Eighties and exhibited at countless shows. Now fresh off the March release of "Performing/Guzzling" (Rizzoli), a book featuring watercolors inspired by her experiences onstage, Gordon is releasing another art tome, "Kim Gordon: The Noise Paintings," which accompanies a similarly titled month-long exhibit that opens tonight at the John McWhinnie @ Glenn Horowitz Bookseller and Art Gallery in Manhattan. WWD chatted with Gordon on the series, which features painted words with a drip effect -- "Slow Listener," "Circuit Wound" and "Testical Hazard," among others.

WWD sits down with Gordon to talk about what she's been up to.

Marc Jacobs on Fashion and Francophilia

On Monday night, Marc Jacobs sat down with Patricia Mears, the deputy director for The Museum at FIT, for a Q&A session at the French Institute Alliance Français. Here, excerpts from that session.

On his early interest in fashion:
I [always] had a love for fashion. I recognized it when my grandmother took me shopping for back-to-school clothes. I mean, I didn't know I wanted to be a fashion designer at that point, but I knew I was interested in clothing. I loved the idea of getting dressed and putting together clothes at a very early age. And then, I guess maybe when I was 12 or 13, I decided I wanted to be a fashion designer. I just really loved fashion. I had no real dreams of anything else. I think once I wanted to be a veterinarian [because] my cat was sick. I was, like, eight and that was a passing moment.

Paris Bids Adieu to Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen seems to be on everyone's mind in Paris. Roland Mouret had "Goodbye Lee" tucked into the corner of his runway program.

Stella McCartney dedicated her show to him. "You're missed!" she wrote.

Hussein Chalayan, meanwhile, began his show with a rather poignant voice-over tribute to the designer. WWD got a hold of the transcript, which we've printed here:

Saint Laurent, Discovered Again

Who knew Anna Sui did her own Mondrian colorblock shift back in 1984? I certainly didn't -- until I went down to the WWD library last week to pull film for a story on Yves Saint Laurent's impact on fashion. I found scores of other surprises, too.

Yves Saint Laurent dress, 1965
photo courtesy of the Fairchild Archives
I pulled up a photo from his spring 1979 collection of a model wearing a harlequin-patterned gown and realized it matched a spring 2008 Viktor & Rolf look to a T. Hats from his fall 2001 collection rang of the spiraling, Frank Gehry-like toppers at the most recent Louis Vuitton show in March, and so on. It's amazing just how far-reaching his influence was, beyond the safari or le smoking looks that have become synonymous with his name.

As someone who's still fairly new to the industry -- let's just say, I'm a child of the Eighties -- my memory bank of YSL moments doesn't go very far and much of what I do know is filtered through the work of other designers. So it was quite an eye-opener to get down and dirty with the company archives. What didn't the guy do? Transparency, beaded tribalwear, even conical busts. (And I always thought Madonna and Jean Paul Gaultier had paved that road.)

As for my favorite discovery that day, while looking at a complicated fringed patchwork coat from Saint Laurent's 2002 couture finale, I noticed the model behind it, walking away from the camera. The phrase "Or Never" was prominently displayed on her backside. Intrigued, I searched for a frontal view. What a nice surprise considering the events going on. The girl was wearing a cartoonishly cute coatdress, covered in hearts, stars and puffy clouds emblazoned with the words, "Love Me Forever."
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